Mr Altman said that the first thing he will do in India is to fund startups.
Tech Mahindra CEO CP Gurnani has taken up OpenAI founder Sam Altman's challenge that Indian companies cannot compete with their Silicon Valley counterparts on artificial intelligence (AI) advancements.
Mr Altman, who is on a six-nation tour that includes India, was at an event where he was asked by former Google Vice President in India and South East Asia Rajan Anandan whether India can build an artificial intelligence tool such as ChatGPT.
"We have got a very vibrant ecosystem in India, but specifically focussing on AI, are there spaces where you see a startup from India building foundational models how should we think about that, where is it that a team from India should start to actually build something truly substantial?" Mr Anandan asked.
"The way this works is we're going to tell you, it's totally hopeless to compete with us on training foundation models you shouldn't try, and it's your job to like try anyway. And I believe both of those things. I think it is pretty hopeless," replied Mr Altman.
Tech Mahindra CEO CP Gurnani tweeted Mr Altman's reply and said that the challenge has been accepted.
"OpenAI founder Sam Altman said it's pretty hopeless for Indian companies to try and compete with them. Dear @sama, From one CEO to another...CHALLENGE ACCEPTED," tweeted Mr Gurnani.
Despite Mr Altman's claims that India is not capable of building a tool like ChatGPT, Mr Anandan tweeted that Indian entrepreneurs will try to build their own AI tool.
"Thank you, Sam Altman, for the clear answer. As you said, 'it is hopeless, but you will try anyway.' 5000 years of Indian entrepreneurship has shown us that we should never underestimate the Indian entrepreneur. We do intend to try," Mr Anandan wrote.
Mr Altman replied to Tech Mahindra CEO, saying the question was taken out of context.
"This is really taken out of context! the question was about competing with us with $10 million, which i really do think is not going to work. but i still said try! however, i think it's the wrong question," he said in response.
In a subsequent tweet, Mr Altman underlined the potential of Indian start ups.
"The right question is what a startup can do that's never been done before, that will contribute a new thing to the world. i have no doubt indian startups can and will do that! and no one but the builders can answer that question," he said.
The Tech Mahindra CEO thanked Mr Altman for the clarification.
Mr Altman met Prime Minister Narendra Modi in New Delhi on Thursday and discussed the need for global regulation of AI.
Talking about his plan for India, Mr Altman said that the first thing he will do in India is to fund startups.
"We were always amazed and quite grateful for the quality of Indian startups," he said, adding that he had met some startups in India.